Australia’s National Institute of
Accountants (NIA) is establishing a faculty system to better
utilise the expertise within its membership base and draw on
external expertise to identify and respond to local and global
issues in the accounting profession.

Four faculties have already been launched, specialising in the
areas of accounting education, small business, taxation and the
public sector. They will be joined in the coming months by
faculties of accounting regulation, financial services and
corporate governance.

The chairs for the first four faculties have been appointed from
among industry figures in the respective fields, each will be
invited to serve a three-year term.

Beverley Jackling, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of
Technology University, will chair the accounting education faculty;
Jean Raar, from Swinburne University, will chair the faculty of
small business; Lance Cunningham, from PKF Australia, will chair
the faculty of taxation; and Tyrone Carlin of the Macquarie
Graduate School of Management will chair the public sector

The chairs of the remaining three faculties are due to be named

Education statement

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NIA president Roger Cotton told The Accountant the
concept behind the faculties is something the institute has been
looking at for four to five years, although the initial idea was to
have centres of excellence.

“After looking at international models, we started to modify our
initial thoughts,” he said. k

“We see the concept of a faculty as having the advantage of
reinforcing the notion of the NIA as an education institution, and
as an authoritative statement of our role in the accounting
profession by differentiating the NIA from the other professional
bodies not only in Australia, but offshore as well.”

The faculties are designed to respond to emerging issues in the
Australian and Asia-Pacific accounting professions specifically,
and monitor and respond to global developments affecting the
accounting profession overall.

“We hope they will provide strategic technical and thought
leadership on a range of issues affecting the profession, evaluate
policy issues to assist the NIA in representation to government and
to the standard setters and other stakeholders throughout the
region,” Cotton said.

“I think they will, in effect, be the underpinning technical
strength and foundation of the NIA in their respective fields of

The institute’s objective is to eventually enable both members
and non-members to subscribe to become members of one or more of
the NIA faculties, Cotton explained.

“Effectively what we are looking for is seven faculties in all,
with independent chairs for each of them, and then having a range
of people, not necessarily all members, participating in the
discussions, the debates and ultimately the outcomes of the
faculties,” he said.

Cotton said that while there was internal discussion and
research among members before the faculty areas were decided on,
each area was quite topical and an obvious choice: “For example
taxation, that’s pretty well on everybody’s lips,” he

“Financial services is a growing business all across the world
and it needs even greater cohesion and understanding in order to
set in place the templates for codes of ethics and disciplinary
process and education.”

Each year the NIA holds a comprehensive external strategic
meeting to evaluate its position and direction. At the most recent
meeting, the institute compiled a range of key strategies on the
objectives and outcomes for each faculty.

“But ultimately I think the whole idea of having independent
chairs is to have them work with their groups, within the framework
of the overall NIA strategies. We want to give them room to develop
their own strategies and their own business planning,” Cotton